Thanks to a friend who is the head of a certain top-level country domain in Europe, I am running a RIPE Atlas probe on my home network. RIPE is Réseaux IP Européens, which is French for European IP Networks. It is one of the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) that divide up administration of the world-wide Internet. Sometimes we call them the “geos,” for geographical organizing bodies. Atlas is RIPE’s plan to build the “largest Internet measurement network ever made.” See the RIPE Atlas web site for details.
My probe, pictured here, is a little bigger than a deck of playing cards. It is one of 7,446 connected, from around the world. Built-in measurements can figure out how long it takes to go from my spot in the network to any other spot, and the quality of that connection. This is all about aiding the performance of the Internet, without reference to commercial gain. This is the original purpose of the Internet — communicating data for its own sake — and I like being able to serve it in this small way.